Pete Hoekstra, FoxNews.com
Jihadists awoke to a new dawn on the day that the Obama administration began implementing a new and uncharted foreign policy seven years ago.
In his 2009 inaugural speech the new president declared that America “will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist” when discussing “those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent.”
The result? Today Egypt is rebuilding its government following the disastrous Islamist Muslim Brotherhood regime. Libya is a malignant tumor in north Africa that spreads the cancer of weapons, training and ideology throughout the broader region. Syria and Iraq are nearly ungovernable with ISIS on its murderous rampage. Israel is under siege by Palestinian terrorists.
This is not to say that Obama and his advisors caused the chaos by themselves, yet the common thread starts from when it fundamentally reversed longstanding bipartisan U.S. foreign policy. For the first time in decades, the government embraced such bad actors as the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda and Hamas – jihadist groups with American blood on their hands – without prejudice.
Previous Republican and Democratic administrations did not overtly engage with radical Islamists because their philosophy is inconsistent with Western values. Their goal is not to reach an accommodation with the West, but to destroy it.
Obama’s rhetoric became policy, and the full nature of the dramatic shift revealed itself. He threw President Hosni Mubarak – our ally in Egypt – under the bus as the U.S. subtly signaled that it was comfortable working with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Director of National Intelligence General James R. Clapper reinforced the change in direction with his unfounded prediction to a congressional committee in 2012 that al Qaida would “find it difficult to compete for local support with groups like the Muslim Brotherhood that participate in the political process, provide social services and advocate religious values.”
In Libya, Muammar Qaddafi’s son, Seif, begged for peace negotiations, but the administration allied with the salafi-jihadist Libyan Islamic Fighting Group to overthrow and kill his father.
The resulting failed state in Libya allowed significant weapons caches – Gaddafi’s leftover stockpiles, NATO-supplied arms and those shipped in from the UAE and Qatar — to make their way into the hands of those who murdered four Americans in Benghazi, as well as to the ‘rebels’ in Syria that would metastasize into ISIS.
In the same manner the Obama administration provided unprecedented access by individuals and groups with radical Islamist ties to the highest levels of the executive branch. Such access offers unique opportunities to influence public policy and to gain credibility, which they in turn exploit to discredit other organizations and add authority to their messages.
Such a sweeping policy change by Obama resulted in much of the world seeing U.S. weakness and taking advantage of it. America has experienced the failure of this engagement policy through aggression by the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt; radical Islamists operating unmolested in Libya; ISIS expanding its reach and genocidal campaign in Syria and Iraq; as well as Hamas and Palestinian mercenaries attacking Israel, which current Secretary of State John Kerry dismisses as “random acts of violence.”
Despite the turmoil, former Secretary of State and presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton recently claimed that the U.S. is safer and that this is the best example of an exercise in American smart power.
U.S. leadership needs to recognize that jihadists hate us, they want to destroy our way of life, and that they have developed dozens of front groups in the United States such as the Council for American-Islamic Relations to provide cover for their activities.
We are at war and the sooner we recognize, confront and defeat the enemy, the safer we will become.
Republican Pete Hoekstra represented Michigan’s 2nd congressional district from 1993 to 2011 in the House of Representatives. He is the former House Intelligence Committee chairman and author of the upcoming book “Architects of Disaster: The Destruction of Libya.”